Hunting for Sharks’ Teeth on Venice’s Beaches

A strange natural phenomenon has led to Venice becoming known as “The Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World.” These smooth T-shaped prehistoric teeth are usually dark grey in color and may be anything from one inch to five inches in length. They are so numerous in this area you can cheat and buy them at local souvenir stores for a couple of dollars, but it’s much more rewarding to have the thrill of finding your very own shark’s tooth.

The sign welcoming visitors to the Sharks Tooth Capitval of the World - Caspersen Beach Venice, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides,

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Why is Venice so Special for Finding Sharks’ Teeth?

These warm Gulf waters were once filled with numerous giant sharks such as the extinct Carcharodon Megalodons. Area waters are still home to a few species of smaller sharks, but it’s very unlikely to see one within sight of land.

Millions of years ago, the sharks lived, bred and then died in these exceptionally calm waters and their carcasses lay on the seabed. Although most of the shark’s remains would rot, disintegrate or become fish food, the hardened T-shaped teeth became fossilized over time.

The tides carry, bury and later uncover these hard objects, especially during winter storms. Eventually the teeth are thrown up on the beach around Venice, due to the converging currents that deposit sediment along the shallow drops-offs along the coastline.

Best Beaches in Venice for Finding Sharks’ Teeth

With 14 miles of sandy beaches in Venice, there are a lot of opportunities for finding sharks teeth washed up along the edge of the water. Here’s a rundown to some of the best beaches in Venice where you stand a good chance of going home with your own prehistoric collection of sharks’ teeth – if you know how and where to search for them.

Gulf of Mexico and Caspersen Beach, Venice Florida. Photo credit Nita Ettinger, Must Do Visitor Guides,

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Venice Beach is one of the busiest beaches in the area and for that reason is possibly not the best beach for competing with other sharks’ teeth fossil hunters. However, after a storm you may be lucky and find a tooth thrown up from the depths after 15 million years or so. | Shark teeth found on Caspersen Beach in Venice, Florida. Photo by Debi Pittman Wilkey for Must Do Visitor Guides.

Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

The quieter Service Club Park Beach further south may be a better place to start your search. It is located behind the municipal airport and has free parking, rest rooms, showers and a boardwalk to the beach.

The best beach for finding sharks’ teeth is Caspersen Beach, at the extreme south end of Venice’s beaches. This beach is also good for scuba diving, which greatly enhances your chances of finding a larger Megalodin tooth which can be more rare and valuable.

Megladon Sharks Tooth found in Venice, Florida. USA. Photo credit Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides,

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Megladon Sharks Tooth found in Venice, Florida. USA. Photo credit Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides,

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

How to Search for Sharks’ Teeth

You will always find ardent searchers sifting the water on Caspersen Beach with their sand scoops and nets, looking for the next treasure. You may want to use a sand sieve to sift through the tiny broken seashells that hide those elusive sharks’ teeth. | Caspersen Beach Venice Florida Sharks tooth hunting.

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Use a small spade to shovel sand into your net or sieve. Let the water rinse away all but the larger particles, then examine them for dark tooth-shaped forms. Sooner or later you will be rewarded with your very own prehistoric shark’s tooth to take home and show off to family and friends.

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Nita Ettinger is the co-publisher for Siesta Publications and the Editor in Chief for Must Do Visitor Guides. Must Do Visitor Guides provides Southwest Florida visitor information through printed publications and the website Must Do Visitor Guides are published bi-annually and are available at no cost in Sarasota, Lee, and Collier County chambers of commerce, visitor information centers, select Southwest Florida hotels, and wherever free publications are found.

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